our magical tree tradition

Another year, another Christmas Tree. Yes, one of our family’s tradition and favorite day of the year has already gone by, and once again, it was just perfect. Not sure what’s in the air this year, but we were all so very anxious to start decorating for Christmas that we’ve decided to go out to our favorite Christmas Tree farm a week earlier, which we normally do on the first weekend of December.

I will do a house tour of our Christmas decorations sometime next week to show you all why this is the time of the year where I truly fall in love with my house, year after year. I do love my ‘normal’ house, but nothing compares to walking into a Christmas decorated house with the fresh smell of fir. That just makes me happy.

So on Saturday, we talked about it and decided that we didn’t wanted to wait another week before we’d go get our tree, and then made some plans to go to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park the following day. My mom, Frank and my aunt Lise-Ann decided to join us. The boys had a friend’s birthday party in the morning, and as soon as we got back home, they putted on their pj’s and snowsuits and on our way we were!

It was our 7th visit to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park and we still love it every year like it was our first time. I have a feeling that we will never grow tired of this place and I truly hope that one day our grandchildren will come with us to pick our tree, and we’ll all make a day out of it, and continue this tradition of ours…

So on Sunday, on our way there, the ground was lightly covered with snow, weather was great and everybody was happy. On the way there, Logan told us that it was his favorite day of the year, which made me so happy! He then added that making a snowman and skating were also his favorite days of the year (but he has NEVER skated yet in his life!!! HAHA). Once we got to the farm, we immediately went to the wagon ride and hit the fields. We strolled for a while before Brian found our magical tree. He usually choose the biggest tree he finds, but this year he kinda went for a pretty one instead of a big one, and I don’t know, but I love a big tree, and I told him that he should have gone bigger; so, well, I guess that after making that comment about his tree I can expect the biggest tree that will physically fits into our house next year; oh well!

So when I say magical tree, and I know I have told you about our corny tradition in last year’s post, but for those who are new here, each year when we go pick out our tree, my mom hides two bags with the boys’ names under the tree that we have chosen. When we (the adults) finally decide on a tree, we bring the boys for a little walk while my mom hides their bags under it, and then we bring back the boys close to the tree and let them walk by themselves until they find their bags with their names, and therefore our magical tree! Silly, but all they could talk about on the way there was which tree would be ours and what could be the surprise they would find under it. It’s usually a small ornament and chocolate, but it gets them really excited!

Once the tree was cut down, we took the wagon back to see the Reindeer. Definitely my favorite moment. Only wish I could do a photoshoot with them à la Mariah Carey! That would be a dream come true. But sadly I don’t own a tight red Santa suit nor am I allowed to go inside the Reindeer’s pens! That’s too bad!!!

The year, for the first time, we ventured past the Reindeer and took a walk on Candy Cane Lane, played in the maze and visited Santa’s workshop. Wish more snow had fallen to make snowballs and throw them at the giant target. Brian found a way to make some of dead grass and a tiny bit of snow; it kinda worked and it was a hit!

Then it was time to warm up by the fire pit, eat a hot dog and drink a hot cocoa! We also made our way into the warm up cabin to look at a few snapshot of all the visiting guests over the years. We love finding some of our older pictures on the wall.

Finally, Brian and Frank tied the tree onto the car and we drove back home for an evening of decorating and diner. It’s now part of the tradition to eat a warm homemade lasagna after freezing our bums all afternoon. We finished the tree, ate dinner, had some raspberry pie and then called it a night. But before going to bed, even if it was past their bedtime, we decided to let the boys watch the tree for a little while, upon their request, while also making plans to play board games in front of it today after school. They just love to sit and watch all the lights and ornaments. So last night, while looking at it, they talked about how good they have to be in order to receive gifts on Christmas morning. Hopefully they’ll remember about it in the morning! Yeah right.

So glad the Holidays are upon us, that my house smells like fir when I walk in, and that my boys love Christmas as much as we do. Now let’s the parties begin!

 

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last week of winter

First, I would like to announce the very lucky winner of the essential oils holder giveaway: Anne-Renée Caporicci!  Kind of forgot about it over March break, but better late than never!  Thank you to everyone who shared, liked and promoted my blog.  And thanks a lot to our friend from Scotty Wood Design for the great gift!  I wish I could give everyone a prize! You are all so great, thanks again for following mylemondroplife!  I promise I’ll do another giveaway very soon.

So last week was March break, finally!  We had been waiting for it for like forever.  We had a long to-do list, but not much got a chance to be crossed off.  It wasn’t on the list, but we did end up spending three straight days in our pajamas!  It should have been on the list cause it felt sooo good.

On our first day off, we slept in… well past the usual 7am.  A luxury!  And then we took the boys and their cousins to a few games of laser quest.  We met a friend from Liam’s class, played arcade games, had a lot of fun, and then we went for an ice cream cone at Chocolats Favoris.  Laser quest followed by ice cream cone is one of my boys favorite things to do!  One of my favorite as well.

Back home, we had Brian’s sister and brother over for dinner.  My brothers-in-law practically took over my home and Brian’s toolbox and repaired every minor things our house needed fixing for!  The question needs to be asked: where was my husband when they learned all of that?  I don’t want to know!  Well, thanks guys… please come back in May for the outside fixin’!

Sunday was snooze fest.  We each took turns for naps and being lazy.  These days are the best!

Monday was Trolls Day.  The boys have been obsessed with the movie and CD.  The music is awesome, or was awesome, for a while.  Logan got the soundtrack for Christmas and it’s all the music we have been listening to in the car since.  I can’t listen one more time to ‘Can’t stop the feeling’.  The movie has also been on a loop at home since we got it.  So, to make them happy on their first real March break day off, I decided to have a special day to honor Trolls.  My mom made the most awesome Trolls hat, it’s hilarious!  We also had popcorn and Trolls cookies and cones while watching -once again- the movie.

We had the best of days on Tuesday.  I had planned the chocolate paint activity with my cousins!  You can read more about that in my last post.  The kids had so much fun being together.  But it made me feel old, as I can remember spending time with my cousins during March break doing fun activities our parents had planned out for us.  Now, it’s our turn.

On Wednesday, as soon as Brian came back from work, we left for the cottage for a three nights little family getaway.  It was Brian’s first days off since our California adventure last summer, and the kids were really excited that the four of us were leaving on a ‘trip’.  Logan was expecting we’d take a plane and go to Disney, but no, not this time Loggy; it was only a short road trip to my uncle’s cottage in Morin Heights.  We were lucky enough to have the cottage for ourselves for the weekend (as my uncle was away down south with my mom for the week).  Morin Heights is a cute little village near Saint-Sauveur in the Laurentians.  We had packed our snowshoes, a bunch of kids movies and some snacks.  First stop was for a late diner at Patate Labelle in Lachute, a snack bar where you can get some of the best fast food around.  For me it was a poutine; HEAVEN!

Once we arrived, we made a fire and snuggled on the couch for what seems like hours.  By that I mean the boys on the iPad and myself taking a nap!

Next morning, we braved the cold and got out to the Glissades des Pays d’En Haut. We met up with our friends ‘les Roy’ and went sliding/tubing.  It was one of my favorite as a child and still is.  That place is so much fun with some really fast rides, but with next to nobody on the hills, bonus, there was like no waiting time.  After the first ride we already knew that our little Logan was not a fan.  Poor Loggy, he saw the hills and he started to cry, so I decided to skip a few with him, but we did managed to bring him back with us later for some more rides… but he definitely had more fun jumping on the tubes and eating snow than going down the hill!

We did the rafting and tornado slides and they were crazy!  I mean the 8 of us in one circle type of boat going down the hill while spinning and spinning, watch out!  I screamed the entire way down!

So we went back to the cottage, and then, of course, I took another nap… what can I say, for me, cottage + fire = I need a nap.  Well not only at the cottage, it’s actually one of my main priorities when on vacation.  But then I was ready for our feast.  Our friends joined us at the cottage, and we had cheese fondue, cheese raclette and another fondue.  But even after that amazing meal and all that good cheese, I got to say that the best part was the dessert!!!  Vero had made some croissants filled with Cadbury Easter eggs.  To die for… while the guys’ dessert was another craft beer… they found a spot in Morin Heights where there was a ton of Beau’s beer that they can’t find at our local LCBO… but as excited as they were, nothing could have come close to what I felt eating that Cadbury Egg croissant!  Shortly after we were done with the desserts, we were all so full, and the kids were all so exhausted that we called it a night.

Friday was already here and we went snowshoeing in the mountain trails.  I’d say it was a tad dangerous and a little extreme for some 4 and 6 years old, but it was just gorgeous.  After snowshoeing, we went for a French onion soup, then a nap, and then some main street shopping in Saint-Sauveur before ending up in a pub to celebrate St-Patty’s Day… with craft beers, burgers and an awesome dessert.  And then, one last night at the cottage, with the end of March break approaching way too fast…

On our way back home, we had to go say goodbye to Brian’s aunt, and on our way there we went to the theater to see Beauty and the Beast.  No spoiler alert here, just go watch that movie.  Wow!  We had dinner with Brian’s family, and then it was time to drive back to Rockland… and time to end our March break the same way we started it, in our pajamas!  It was a week filled with great snacks, great adventures, great friends, and many great naps… just the way it’s supposed to be!

Next, summer break!

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frosty

What a crazy week.  This weather is killing me.  Cold rain in winter is just a pain in my A…

Fortunately, a few days ago, we decided to have a snowman day.  With freshly fallen sticky snow, it was perfect to build a snowman and an igloo (as the boys would say, but it was nothing like an igloo, more like a really really basic snow castle!).  We love to make snowman, in any shapes or with anything… especially food!

So, we made snowman pancakes, snowman pizza, made snowman paintings, mini snow snowman, had our snowman lasagna and to finish it off, we even had snowman ice cream cones!  Ice cream snowman after spending time outside snowshoeing was the best.  All of these were sooo easy to do and the boys just loved it.  And me too!

I love to make theme days for the boys!  Sunday will be our heart day, trying to find new ways to incorporate hearts in everything that we will do.  I’ll share next week for Valentine day!

So, do you want to build a snowman?  NO I don’t.  Way too cold outside!

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one amazing weekend

Every Sunday, about right after diner time, I end up asking myself the same question week after week: why are weekends so short?  This weekend was so much fun, but once again, it just went by way too fast…

Started with a lazy Friday night, pizza and a movie.  We finally watched Star Wars ‘The Force Awaken’.  It was an immediate hit, and I have a feeling that Star Wars will be part of our household for a while.  The boys loved it, and we all can’t wait to see the next one!  Well, except Brian who chose to binge-watch The Office instead.  Yeppers!

On Saturday, we had planned our first snowshoe outing and my sister-in-law Annick and her family were coming with us.  In the morning, Brian prepared his famous family soup (soupe aux coquilles à matante Aline) and made sandwiches for everyone.  One day I’ll talk about how awesome her family is; my boys are in love with their cousins Nini and Jay-Jay, her daughter and son.  So we all had lunch together, got ready, putted on our gear and headed out to Rockland’s golf course.  Within 5 minutes of being there, I knew it was going to be a hit!  I didn’t even had my snowshoes on and the boys had already climbed a snowbank with their mini snowshoes!  So we started our little venture on the never been touched snow, ready to try our new snowshoes.  By the way, if you’re thinking about buying some, now is the best time.  Everywhere you look, they’re on sale.  Bought the one for the boys at Giant Tiger for 30$ and they are great.

So we walked for maybe half an hour, stopped on a little bridge, watched the flowing water of the unfrozen creek, threw a few snowballs, made a few races and found some walking sticks.  My little Logan was a natural, leading the pack while not complaining once.  He was all about being the chief and having rosy cheeks.  Our entire adventure lasted only an hour (felt like 3!), but everybody had a great time.  We clearly found a new activity our family loves.  Plus it’s a great workout!  Win-win!

Went back home, all sat by the fire, our cousin Jojo joined us for a sleepover, played games and ordered the best Thai food in town!  Well, Brian and my brother-in-law actually drove to downtown Ottawa to get it, but it was so worth it!!!  Then stayed up way past our bedtimes listening to music we’d like to hear at our funeral… seems like an awkward discussion, but we had such a great time!

I’m all about lazy Sunday.  So in the morning, Jojo and I had homemade pink cinnamon buns and played bingo with the boys!  After lunch, I had to sneak in a little nap, you know, just because it’s Sunday and I can… but then I felt all rested and we decided to go back for snowshoeing round 2.  Bundled up the boys and packed up snacks, cause the boys wanted to go back for a picnic on the bridge at the golf course… Logan leading the way, we found our way back to the creek and had our picnic.  We did the same trail than the day before, then found more sticks, honestly, my kids can never have too many sticks… I don’t understand this one… it’s probably a boys thing!

We got home in time for the football game… and our team made it!  (Brian loves the Pats; I just love Tom!!!)  So Super Bowl 51 here we come.  Already planning on the menu… can’t wait!  And just like that, the weekend was over and I was already making plans for next Friday!

So, well, weekends may be short, but you know what, they’re just the best.  And I can’t wait for next one!

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new year’s eve sleigh ride

I am usually not a fan of NYE.  You know, I never seem to know what to do, years after years wishing for a big elaborate and elegant party like they have in the movies… but always ending up half asleep before midnight wearing my pajamas!  I remember that my parents had fabulous parties when I was younger, sequins party dress, suits and an amazing time.  We did have those types of NYE parties at the Golf and Curling Club in Hawkesbury in the early 2000s, but after a few years of hearing Jive Bunny as first song of the party, we decided to call it quit!  And to be honest, I love to be with Liam and Logan on New Year’s Eve, so it’s kinda hard to go somewhere fancy and hope to party like a Rock Star while having them there with me.  So this year, we’ve tried something different, trying to create a new family and friends tradition… and we did, and it was the best NYE in a very long time!

We’ve been living in a suburb of Ottawa for 9 years, and every day on my way to work I drive across a Sleigh Ride sign maybe 10 minutes from home.  I always loved sleigh rides, and I thought it would be a fun family thing to do this winter, so I called to book a NYE sleigh ride a couple weeks ago, but they were already full for that day.  Which made me want to go (on that day) even more!  So I called again on the 29th, just to see, and guess what… they finally had an opening for the 31st at 3pm; so I booked it right away.  I’ve been on a few sleigh rides when I was a kid, but this one…it was just MAGICAL.

The sleigh can hold 15 people, so the first thing I did was to call my friends to inform them that they now had plans on the 31st… cause I already knew that just like us, they probably had nothing to do on NYE but spending the day in their pajamas with their kids… and I was right, so we now had exciting plans for NYE.  YES!

So there was a huge snow storm in Ottawa on the 31st… and when we got to the Beckett’s Creek Farms in Cumberland, it was just gorgeous with the snow falling, the huge old barns and the two big beautiful horses and wooden sleigh waiting for us.  We were ready for our ride, with, of course, some hot chocolate for our crew.  The kids were happy, but I was ecstatic!  Once we got on the sleigh it was breathtaking.  We rode in the most gorgeous forest.  I know I just said that it was breathtaking and now I am going to say that it took my breath away, but the scenery really did took our breath away.  Sometimes it was silent, with just the sound of horses pulling the old sleigh, sometimes we were singing along with the kids or just taking about how gorgeous it was. Middle of nowhere, huge snowflakes slowly falling on us, signing and laughing all the way through.

Half way, we stopped in a clearing of trees for 10 minutes; nobody but us.  We took some pictures, the kids made snow angels and threw a few snowballs.  Brian poured some hot cocoa for everyone and then took out his Beau’s New Lang Syne beer; we then got back on the sleigh and made our way back to the farm while enjoying our favorite drinks!

One hour sleigh ride full of smiles and laughs and pictures and memories; it was just priceless.  We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to spend our day together in this wonderful place.  As a side note, this year will be the last year of the Lalonde family Beckett’s Creek Sleigh Rides after doing this for many years, even going back the early 1900’s I believe.  So you can’t understand how that saddened me when I learned about it after 15 minutes in the trails while I had already made plans in my mind to do this again next year on NYE, and every other years after that.

So after the sleigh ride, everyone came back to our place, now finally all wearing our pajamas… we sat in front of the fireplace, had some drinks, some amazing snack food and my go to spaghetti and meatballs for diner, then made too many plans to count, which helped celebrate this new year and enter a new one.  The kids put on a show where they danced and sang for us; they were so proud!  But then we showed them how it was done Rock Star Style (or maybe more Celine Dion wanna be style!).  Found the craziest costumes and hats in my wardrobe, picked up a few hairbrush for microphones and before you knew it: the show must go on!  Let’s just say it was literally jaw dropping for our kids to see us perform and act crazy like we did!!!

Okay, well, I’ll talk about our singing and dancing group another time in another blog, but for now, just so you understand, we take ourselves pretty seriously when we perform!!!  And we think we’re pretty great at this, so when I say ‘act crazy’, it was more like a pretty spectacular NYE performance by The Whiskettes (even minus 2 key members and without any type of rehearsal)… Nothing like the Mariah Carey disaster in Times Square happening at the same time!

So we made it till midnight, cheered to the new year and wished each other only the best!  You know, I get why 2016 was a bad year for many, but 2016 was great to me and to our family.  We traveled, celebrated, spent times with the ones we love, made new friends, smiled a lot, and finally I got to create this blog!  So 2017, you’ve got big shoes to fill and I am ready for you.

Happy New Year everyone.  Santé, Bonheur et Succès.

 

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do you want to build a … lasagna

snow4

I love finding new ways to make something. It just makes me happy… and these mini lasagna sure fit that mold!  You know, not everything I try is worth sharing on my blog… I don’t share when it ends up as a fail… but these are no fail, these are just as cute as they are good!!!

Easy, fun to do with the kids and delicious!  I found these baking dish at my local dollar store.  We love lasagna -who doesn’t love lasagna, come on!!!- but these mini-individual-snowman-lasagna are now a favorite of ours.

snow

Use your regular pasta sauce (next time I want to try pesto and chicken lasagna), cook the noodles and let cool.  Grate lots of cheese!  You can never have too much grated cheese!  Wrap one large noodle inside, around the baking dish, and then fill up the layers with pasta sauce, pasta, cheese, pasta sauce, pasta and more cheese!  I made the eyes and mouth with black olives and the snowman nose with a mini carrot!  So the veggies make it cute and also help with the guilt of eating pasta again!!!

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 and broil for a few minutes but don’t overdo it, you don’t want a sunburned snowman!

The next few months will be cold, so warm up with this cute diner and watch Frosty or Olaf.

 

 

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